From April 2014 adults with mental health problems have had the legal right –
‘to choose which provider and consultant or mental health professional will be in charge of their care when they attend their first outpatient appointment’.
This means that you now have the right to choose who your GP refers you to for mental health care.
In December 2014, NHS England produced guidance for GPs, commissioners, people using services and mental health providers on this extended legal right for choice in mental health: http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/choice-mhc-14.pdf
So, How Should this Work in Practice?
The guidance states that, where your GP assesses you as needing to be referred to secondary care mental health services as an outpatient (this could be a Community Mental Health Team, Psychological Services etc) they should discuss the choices available to you that best meet your clinical needs and preferences, including the choice of provider and team to provide your care & treatment at your first outpatient appointment.
The term provider includes private services that have an NHS contract with NHS England or with any CCG in England.
Once you have chosen a clinically appropriate provider, your GP makes the referral either through the ‘Choose and Book’ system or the service’s own referral process.
- Applies in England only
- Relates to your first outpatient appointment and subsequent treatment
- Doesn’t apply if you’re already receiving mental health care as an outpatient unless you have had an assessment and diagnosis that is different to the one you were originally referred for
- Applies to young people over 16 who are deemed to be capable of consenting to their own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge ( ‘Gillick competent’ )
- Includes specialised services commissioned by NHS England
- Includes Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services if you need to be referred by your GP
The following Choice Framework details the choices you can expect to have when using NHS services: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299609/2014-15_Choice_Framework.pdf
We would like to hear your experiences where you have exercised your right to choose who provides you with treatment whether successful or not so please get in touch by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org